The market for free-agent outfielder George Springer has been a two-horse race for most of the offseason, with the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays being the prime contenders. The Houston Astros, while interested, are seemingly no longer in the mix to sign their homegrown star.
There is buzz that Springer could sign as early as this week, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, though he does not list any potential favorites.
The Mets make a ton of sense for Springer. They are actively seeking an upgrade in center field and in an ideal world, it would be a big splash. The team has already signed free agents such as James McCann and Trevor May and traded for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco and appear to have their sights set on Springer. The Blue Jays, of course, have made it clear that they want to spend big this winter, but have come up empty on each target. Springer would improve their up-the-middle defense, a priority for them, and add an established star to a roster filled with young talent.
From the Astros perspective, the team has braced for the loss of Springer. It has seemingly felt like a foregone conclusion that he would not return to Houston and they have expressed interest in outfielders such as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Michael Brantley. While both are talented pieces, they will not sign until Springer comes off the board – meaning that once Springer signs, the Astros will have to act quickly to secure their targets before another team swoops them up.
And the Astros have money to spend, despite some thought at the beginning of the offseason that funds would be limited. The team has been aggressive trying to upgrade their bullpen, adding Pedro Baez and Ryne Stanek, after missing on Liam Hendriks and Blake Treinen.
So, you can expect general manager James Click to be aggressive filling his outfield with top-tier talent. It just will not be Springer.